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From Middle English jonket (basket made of rushes; food, probably made of sour milk or cream; banquet, feast.),[1] from Medieval Latin iuncta, possibly from Latin iuncus (rush, reed) and therefore a possible doublet of jonquil.[2]

Meaning shifted to "feast of banquet" by 1520s, probably via the notion of a picnic basket. This in turn led to the sense of "pleasure-trip" (1814), and then to specifically to "trip made ostensibly for business but which entails merrymaking or entertainment" by 1886 in American English.[2]


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈdʒʌŋkɪt/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌŋkɪt


junket (plural junkets)

  1. (obsolete) A basket.
  2. A type of cream cheese, originally made in a rush basket; later, a food made of sweetened curds or rennet.
    • 1818, John Keats, "Where be ye going, you Devon maid?":
      I love your meads, and I love your flowers, / And I love your junkets mainly [...].
  3. (obsolete) A delicacy.
    • 1593, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, Act III, Scene 2,[1]
      [] though bride and bridegroom wants
      For to supply the places at the table,
      You know there wants no junkets at the feast.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, V.4:
      Goe streight, and take with thee to witnesse it / Sixe of thy fellowes of the best array, / And beare with you both wine and juncates fit, / And bid him eate […].
  4. A feast or banquet.
    • 1790, Ambrose Philips, The free-thinker, Vol III. No 124., page 95
      Conversation is the natural Junket of the Mind ; and most Men have an Appetite to it, once in the day at least [...].
  5. A pleasure-trip; a journey made for feasting or enjoyment, now especially a trip made ostensibly for business but which entails merrymaking or entertainment.
  6. A press junket.
    • 2018, An Phung and Chloe Melas,"Women accuse Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior, harassment", CNN entertainment, May 24, 2018
      An entertainment reporter who is a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association said Freeman made comments about her skirt and her legs during two different junkets.
  7. (gambling) A gaming room for which the capacity and limits change daily, often rented out to private vendors who run tour groups through them and give a portion of the proceeds to the main casino.



  1. ^ jǒnket, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved February 15, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “junket”, in Online Etymology Dictionary, retrieved February 15, 2021.


junket (third-person singular simple present junkets, present participle junketing or junketting, simple past and past participle junketed or junketted)

  1. (intransitive, dated) To attend a junket; to feast.
    • 1677, Hannah Woolley, The Compleat Servant-Maid, London: T. Passinger, p. 2,[2]
      Be careful that you wast not, or spoil your Ladies, or Mistresses goods, neither sit you up junketing a nights, after your Master and Mistress be abed.
    • 1688, Robert South, Sermon preached on 8 April, 1688, in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions. The Second Volume, London: Thomas Bennet, p. 414,[3]
      Iob’s Children junketted and feasted together often, but the Reckoning cost them dear at last.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa, London, for the author, Volume 1, Letter 32, p. 218,[4]
      ’Tis better than lying abed half the day, and junketing and card-playing all the night, and makeing yourselves wholly useless to every good purpose in your own families, as is now the fashion among ye []
    • 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes, London: Seeley, Jackson & Halliday, Chapter 10, p. 38,[5]
      After they had built their water-house and laid their pipes, it occurred to them that the place was suitable for junketing. Once entertained, with jovial magistrates and public funds, the idea led speedily to accomplishment; and Edinburgh could soon boast of a municipal Pleasure House.
  2. (intransitive) To go on a junket; to travel.
    • 1910, Lucy Maud Montgomery, “Miss Sally’s Letter,”[6]
      Together they made trips to town or junketed over the country in search of furniture and dishes of which Miss Sally had heard.
    • 1921, Ida Tarbell, “The Socialization of the Home” in The Business of Being a Woman, New York: Macmillan,[7]
      It is only by much junketing about that one comes to the full realization of what men and women in the main are doing in this country. One learns as he passes from town to town, through cities and across plains, that the general reason for industry everywhere is to get the means to build and support a home.
    • 1943, Patrick Quentin, “The Last of Mrs. Maybrick” in Marc Gerald (ed.), Murder Plus: True Crime Stories from the Masters of Detective Fiction, New York: Pharos, 1992, p. 214,[8]
      It was her belief that the summer folk went junketing off with the first fall of autumn leaves, leaving their cats to starve.
    • 1985, Herman Wouk, Inside, Outside, New York: Avon, 1986, Chapter 81, p. 549,[9]
      On the boat I met an old art history professor, with whom I junketed around for a while, visiting museums in London and Paris []
  3. (transitive) To regale or entertain with a feast.



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